Posted in Food

10 Comfort Food Hacks

 

vegetables-791892_960_72010 Comfort Food Hacks or How I Try to Trick My Husband Into Eating Healthy:

A few years ago I made the decision to start eating healthy.  I began throwing words around like, ‘Super-greens’, ‘fiber-rich’, ‘Chia seeds’, and ‘Veggie burgers’.  I started substituting the bad with the good.  I made a commitment to have spinach or kale at every meal.  The only problem was……my husband.  At any given time, any day, you can walk into my kitchen and find (amidst the kale) licorice, chips, cookies, and chocolate.

For the most part he is agreeable with my healthy foods, but sometimes when I’ve gone a little too ‘clean’, he heads for his stash!  Here are a few of my favorite comfort food hacks and my husbands’ thought on each.

  1. Spaghetti Swap:   Instead of spaghetti noodles, I always use spaghetti squash, broccoli slaw or zucchini.  I got a “Veggetti” for Christmas and I can make noodles out of any vegetable!  Just the name Veggetti gives him material for making fun of me.  He thinks it sounds like a body part.spaquettis-1377420__340
  1.  Chip Switch:  In place of tortilla chips with salsa, I use Beanitos,  chips made out of beans.  He was all on board with these until the first major gas attack!
  1.  Cauliflower is my new best friend!  Cauliflower rice.  Mashed cauliflower.  Cauliflower crust for pizza.  Stir-fry cauliflower. Raw cauliflower for dipping.   It’s so versatile and low in calorie….the possibilities are endless.   My husband wants me to put an end to cauliflowercauliflower-1465732__340

 

  1.  Applesauce vs oil:  Often I use applesauce in place of oil in brownies or muffins and then add in chopped kale or zucchini squash.  This makes me so happy, but alas...I am happy alone and left with a pan of greenish brown brownies. Brownie a la poo-poo!  

 

  1.  You scream…I scream…we all scream for…:At night, when he wants ice cream, I reach for my frozen fruit, kale smoothie!  Fresh fruit, greek yogurt, kale and almond milk.  Yummmm! I said it tasted just like ice cream and he said ‘ice crap’!  Mostly he just holds up his hand and rolls his eyes.  smoothie-drink-1966283__340

 

  1.  I’ll have what Oprah’s having:  Years ago, Oprah came out with her then favorite snack, and I became a fan.  I usually have it for lunch!  Take a WASA cracker, spread a thin layer of mayo, add lean turkey and top with spinach…It’s sooooo good and super low carbs.  My husband calls it Oprah’s favorite cardboard sandwich.

 

  1. No yolking…I love eggs:  Egg white omelets….loaded with veggies!  Easy-peasy and super healthy. You-know-who thinks it is unnatural for an egg to be all white with no yolk.  He thinks the yolk is God’s gift to the egg.egg-1460404__340

 

  1.  Just say NO to Bread:  Instead of bread, I wrap my sandwich in lettuce leaves, or put it in a carb smart tortilla and call it a wrap!  And this is another chance to give a shout out to my WASA crackers!   Mr. White Bread will only occasionally switch to wheat.  He says it reminds him of sandwiches his Granny used to make!
  1.  Holy Guacamole:  I once even tried to make Guacamole from green peas and kale instead of avocados.  I wanted to love it, but even I thought it was a little too much.  Again with the hand and eye rolling.
  1.  Dessert substitutes:  For dessert, I often try to eat fruit;  Don’t the Europeans eat fruit and cheese for dessert, too?  Or try having a hot cup of green tea with honey.  Perfect! Mr. White Bread-eye roller believes dessert should be eaten at every meal.  My attempts of fruit and green tea fall on deaf ears and a more unsophisticated palate.(Twizzlers, chocolate pudding, or cookies)5dfc629c974b699f499a6bea3c1f9f53

I know…some of these ideas seem radical.  I haven’t gone completely ‘clean’….I still love a good meatloaf, or homemade chicken pot pie.  But, I’m trying to make these little changes and make better choices.  I’m trying to incorporate more vitamins and nutrients into OUR lives, even if I am met with a little resistance.   Three cheers for cauliflower!!! 

                                                                      All hail the Kale!!!

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Posted in Introspection

Picture This

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When I grow up I’m going to go to the movies all by myself, and maybe out to eat.  I know it sounds silly and terribly unsophisticated but, I’m unrealistically weirded out by the thought of going places by myself.

Out to eat?  Never!  Drive thru’s don’t count, do they?   Movies solo?  I’ve only attempted it once.  I was going to see How Stella Got Her Groove Back, but I was so nervous that I arrived late and left early, so I never found out if she did or not.

What’s the problem, you may ask?  What am I afraid of?  There are many people who absolutely love an afternoon flick all by their lonesome.  They relish the intimacy between themselves and the big screen.  They don’t have to share the popcorn or Junior Mints as they cozy down in their reclining stadium seats.

Others take themselves out to eat after a morning of errands or shopping.  They happily say ‘table for one’ and genuinely seem to enjoy the solitude and the meal.  Sometimes even reading a book while they nibble or lunch.

What’s my problem?  Why am I so adverse to this sylloque of solitude?  Once, my husband came home after running errands and a Dr.’s appointment and I said, “I bet you’re starved, want me to fix you a sandwich?”

“Oh no”, he said, “I stopped at Red Lobster for lunch.”

“By yourself?” I gulped.

“It was fabulous”, he said, “All you can eat shrimp!”

I was so verklempt that I had to sit down.  

“I wish I could do that”, I whispered.

He did suggest that I practice.  Of course, now he kids me whenever we go to the movies.  “Why don’t you buy your own ticket and practice walking in by yourself?  You can even sit by yourself and I’ll act like I don’t know you.”

I know it sounds so absurd.  Maybe I need hypnosis?  Biofeedback therapy?  Is there a self-help book for ‘chickens’?
Well, perhaps in the spirit of being kind to myself…..I might be rushing things, trying to go too far… too fast.  After all, I’m only 63.   Baby steps, right??   My senior discount will still be good next year!

Posted in Entertainment, Introspection

Top 10 Movie Moments in my Life by Ginger Keller Gannaway

Top 10 Movie Moments of my Life

My grandma owned the movie theaters in the small town I grew up in. Since I (along with many cousins)“got in the show free,” the Liberty Theater and Queen Cinema were my babysitters, my entertainers, and my employers during my formative years. Is that why cinema means much more to me than just moving pictures and why I connect with movies on a very visceral level?

funny-girl1. Funny Girl (1968) Barbra Streisand’s mix of comedy, music, and tragic romance awakened the film fanatic in my 12-year-old soul. I saw it 11 times over a two-week period and Barbra is still “The Greatest Star” for me.
2.  Psycho (1960) I saw this groundbreaking example of mother/son obsession in 1970 for a 10th anniversary showing, and my 8th grade buddies and I literally jumped from our seats during the shocker scenes. Hitchcock became the first director I adored. (seen it 10 times: thanks TCM)
3. Cool Hand Luke (1967) Even though I did not fully appreciate all the symbolism and complex themes when I first saw this, I did fully recognize Paul Newman as the “natural born world-shaker” he was and continues to be. (Especially in 1972 when my friends and I met him during the filming of The Drowning Pool in Lafayette, LA).

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Paul Newman with Cheryl Manuel,Kelly Keller, and Colleen (I’m taking the picture).

4. The Way We Were (1973) Both Streisand and Redford cemented my passion for the tragic side of love. (I saw it over 20 times in my junior year!) I still swoon and cry over those movie moments that remind me that love does NOT conquer all.
5. Annie Hall (1977) Woody Allen so skillfully balanced neurotic humor and awkward silliness to stimulate my college brain and to reveal the laughable side of love’s impermanence. (Only twice in theaters. I don’t”get in free” outside of Eunice).
6. Casablanca (1942) In 1980 I asked my husband-of-now-33-years, Gary, to meet me at the Varsity Theater to see this ultra-cool classic whose sharp dialogue and superstar performances added moral fortitude to the lost-love theme.(8 or 9 times)
7. Brave Little Toaster (1987) So fast-forward to my life with 3 little boys who tangled me up in the wonder of talking appliances, silly songs, and travel adventures. (I lost count of times we watched it; thank you, VCR).
8. Schindler’s List (1993) The teacher part of me mixed my love of historic heroes, masterful moviemaking, and powerful education when I guided tenth graders to examine Spielberg’s genius after they read Elie Wiesel’s unforgettable Night. (Over 16 close-viewing times & the students and I always noticed new brilliant moments).
9.Boyhood (2014) – Linklater’s brave masterpiece about raising kids in Texas in the ’80’s and ’90’s mirrored my own “small moments make a life” experience with my Shane, Casey, and Evan. (Saw it twice in theaters and 6 times on DVD).boyhood
10. LaLa Land (2016) – I fell completely in love with every frame of its musical magic. Oh those gorgeous yearning looks of lost love at the end! Here’s to ALL  the“Fools Who Dream.” (Paid to see it 4 times in two weeks)

So, what are some of YOUR movie moments?  (The 2017 Oscars air  Sunday night, February 26, at 7 p.m.!!)academy_award_trophy

Posted in Caring for others, Children, I love you, Letting Go, Parenting, Parents

Hold on. Let go.A Parent’s Balancing Act by Ginger Keller Gannaway

 Hold On. Let balancing-act-momGo: A Parent’s Balancing Act
Remember. I must remember this. It’s 7:30 a.m. and I’m dropping my three-year-old Evan off at LaLa’s Home Daycare. Since I’m running late for work, I ask Evan to “be a big boy” and walk in by himself. We hug and kiss in the car. “O.K., Momma.” He walks to LaLa’s door, stops, waves, and throws me kisses. Evan will be o.k.holding-on-momLetting go of our kids, whether we’re dropping them off at daycare or telling them to call a tow truck when they’re stranded on a highway on their way to work, is a precarious balancing act. At first, we hold our infants so, so close. Those first few years our babies cry and reach for and only want their mommas. And, for the most part, mothers love being wanted. But soon parenting becomes a balancing act. Kids start to naturally pull away from the pampering and pestering, and just as naturally parents struggle with giving up control of these beings we “brought into this world.” From letting go of a tiny hand as my child takes his very first steps to letting go from an extra-tight hug when I leave that same son at his college dorm, I feel both excited and worried for my kid. As my mind pushes my three sons into independence, my heart aches to clutch them close and pat their heads.
Now Evan is 23, and I often pull up that sweet memory at LaLa’s. It’s a cold, gray day. Evan’s dressed in blue: blue sweat suit, blue jean jacket, steel blue knit cap pulled down over his ears. He takes his thumb out of his mouth, hops down from his carseat, and heads towards LaLa’s door. He’s all smiles, walking backwards, and throwing me kisses all the way down the driveway. Freeze-frame on that face. The smile that lights a universe. Those pudgy hands sending kisses my way. Those sweet cheeks and honest eyes that go down at the corners. I’ll hold tight to that sight, that face, that flood of love forever.
Next, I contrast that beautiful balance of holding close and letting go with last Wednesday when I attempted to help Shane, my 29-year-old, with his car. Shane’s car had stranded him on Hwy. 360 at 5:22 p.m. The thermostat was running extra hot while the engine was refusing to go faster than 45 mph. Now I know nothing about cars and I fear Shane knows less. I drove out to help him, and after he and I fumbled our way through adding a ton of coolant in what we hoped was the right receptor, he gingerly drove the wounded vehicle to his place while I nervously followed behind. Early Thursday morning Shane drove the still hot-running car to our longtime mechanic, and I met him there to give him a ride to work. Shane looked broken when he got into my CRV. Our mechanic had kicked Shane’s down-for-the-count ego to the curb for not towing his car to the garage the day before. There was talk of blowing a gasket or throwing a rod. Shane’s not-yet-paid-for car might be headed to the salvage yard.
“My life already sucks and now THIS!” he said.
“What, besides the car crap, sucks?”
“Well, there’s the fact that I got laid-off two weeks ago.”
“TWO WEEKS AGO!? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“ ‘Cause I knew you’d go berserk and stress me out even more.”
“Well…uh..maybe I could help. I could send you job leads or…”
“No! No! That’s not what- .”
“But I just wanna hel- .”
The rest of the conversation included unfair accusations, teary confessions, and probably some alternative facts. I inwardly told the mothering monster inside my head to, “Back off, bitch!” and the last five minutes of our car ride were a heavy, heavy silence. That day’s morning sunshine mocked our mother/son sadness. Later that day I texted Shane an apology mixed with a pithy proclamation of my love for him.
Why, oh, why doesn’t parenting get easier as we get older and wiser? Why can’t I, an English teacher, communicate with Shane, my English/ Communications graduate son?
I pull my boys in. I try to control. I say I want only to protect and serve my sons. I also want to watch my sons grow and prosper and succeed in life – in their own lives, that is. “Ay, there’s the rub.” Letting go of a kid (even in his 20’s or 30’s or 40’s…) can be like that part of the roller coaster ride when the coaster is at its highest peak, and I look at the straight-down track before the ride goes down, down, down with seemingly out-of-control speed. I LOVE that moment! I’m racing down a rickety track and my stomach jumps into my throat and I scream like a lunatic: a thrilling yet frightening sound! And for about 33 seconds I’m screaming and laughing all at once, and I don’t take a normal breath until the coaster slows and confidently ends where it began. So, seeing my kid scale a mountain or jump off a cliff (both literal and figurative ones) makes me shut my eyes and go, “Please God, please God, please God!” Then I later feel a wild and wonderful wave of relief when I open my eyes and behold my son’s full-body smile. mom-at-lunch-with-boys
Now when I recall my thumb-sucking Evan at age 3, the memory may morph into a bespectacled, bearded Evan at age 23 or blend into a poet/comic Shane, age 29 or a daredevil Casey, age 26. And the older Evan tells me not to “take it personal” when he or his brothers don’t answer my too-frequent texts or have time for dinner on Tuesday, a visit with Papa on Wednesday, a Netflix movie on Thursday, or a play date with our dog Millie on Friday night. My sons, like me, have their own lives. They’re ok. I’m ok. “Let be.”

Posted in Children, Parenting

10 Reasons Why Mothers Are Superheros

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10 Reasons Why Mothers Are Superheroes

1.  Having children or working with children automatically catapults you into Green Lantern status!  You are gifted with a ‘power ring’ that grants the wearer incredible and incomprehensible powers.“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight!  Let those who worship evil’s might…Beware my power Green Lantern’s Light!”  You might be a mom on the outside, but you are channeling Hal Jordan on the inside!

2.  Pulling a splinter out of a moving target finger covered in blood or a fish hook out of an ear lobe, demands laser focus, nerves of steel and the agility of Spiderman.

3.  Explaining the birds and the bees, where babies come from or answering questions about “down there” requires an expert vocabulary and a quick mind.  One must discern how much the child really ‘needs’ to know or can even comprehend before you go too far with an explanation.  Holy sex talk Batman!          

4.   Carrying a solid, 30-pound toddler through Carlsbad Cavern because they fell asleep just as you arrived, asks for herculean capabilities and the biceps of Thor!

5.   Trying to get a two-year-old, six-year-old or thirteen year old to eat vegetables begs for the ingenuity of Captain America!  After all….he’s handsome, healthy and in excellent shape.

6.   Working all day, driving three kids to three different after school lessons, cooking dinner, baths, homework, preparation of breakfasts, lunches, signed permission slips, emergency stop for poster board and having a sense of humor demands none less than Wonder Woman!

7.   Losing, then stepping on Barbie shoes; dropping a whole box of lego mini pieces; retrieving a credit card that slipped perilously down between the car seats….are all jobs for Ant-Man!  We will need a sharp eye and tiny hands to handle these mini pieces and places.

8.   Thinking of what your hands touch in one day…aqua-wise boggles the mind.  Washing dishes, washing clothes, pee, drinks of water, spilled water, too much water, pee, pets’ water, baths, pee, watering the lawn etc. Then, of course, there are the trips to Seaworld, water parks, swimming pools ad nauseum.   Aquaman is the king of all things aqua. He can breathe underwater, swim at tremendous speeds, and telepathically communicate with sea life.

9.  Asking your child to do chores, clean their room, call if they’re going to be late or even look up from their phone evokes anger in we mothers.   Sometimes it doesn’t take much to turn from Donna Reed to the Incredible Hulk!  Don’t they see us slowing turning green?

10. Sometimes loving a child so deeply and intently hurts like being run over by a mack truck.  We feel the pain yet we withstand it with superhuman powers.  Like Superman, our love is more powerful than a locomotive and we believe in truth, justice, and the American way.  The mom of steel just keeps on loving!

 

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Posted in Aging process, Retirement

How I Put The ‘Me’ in RetireMEnt!

 

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After 36 years in education, I decided to retire.  That was six years ago and I have not looked back!  Not once.  Nada.  Zilch.  Never.  Really.

 

I remember how I labored over the decision to retire.  Will we be able to live on retirement funds?  What will I do to entertain myself?  How will I fill my days?  I remember thinking that I was too young to retire…too young to embrace my golden years…too young to be a ‘Golden Girl’.

 

As a high school administrator, I sometimes dealt with some pretty challenging students.  But, one day a student I was sending home for fighting yelled at me, calling me “a skinny white ass bitch.”  This wouldn’t be so bad except it was the 2nd time that week a student had referred to me in an unflattering light.  All of a sudden… I snapped!  I mean ‘it clicked’.  I’m ready to retire!  I’m outta here!

 

It’s amazing how free I felt once I made the decision and scheduled my appointment at TRS.  I was taking my skinny white ass to retirement!  

 

At first, I tried to make a plan for what to do in my golden years.  I signed up for training to be a substitute principal.  I took training to be a volunteer.  I said ‘yes’ to friends’ invitations for book clubs, at home parties, babysitting grandkids…I had my day scheduled from 8-5.  A few months into my ‘golden years’, I broke down in tears.  “I’m overwhelmed”,  I whined.  “I’m tired!!  This isn’t at all like I thought it would be!”  My husband, (comfy in his recliner) nonchalantly said, “Your problem is, you just don’t know how to relax.”  And he was right!

 

Well, I did some changing.  I started saying no to things that I really didn’t want to do and yes to my new and improved life.  Yes to cruises, ski trips, vacations to the Florida Keys, yes to volunteering, yes to writing workshops, yes to exercising every day!  I’ve made a vow to never go to HEB on weekends or in the evening.  I’ve decided that playing with my grandchildren will keep me young forever.  I’ve concluded that it’s OK to drink wine and eat chocolate on a school night.

 
Yes, I’ve taken to retirement like a duck to water or should I say, a cruise ship to the ocean?  I’ve decided “me” time is anytime.  I’ve made a commitment to enjoy every day I have left on this earth and so far… I think I’m doing a bang up job!

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Posted in Friendship, Introspection, Retirement

Top Ten Tuesday : Retirement

TOP TEN TUESDAYStop-ten

Introduction:
Nancy and I have decided to add a bit of structure to our blog. On Tuesdays we will post a Top Ten List, accompanied by an essay that connects to that week’s Top 10.
And since Sittin’ Ugly Sistahs don’t always follow rules, I have adjusted today’s Top Ten List to include only 7 items. (Please let us know what you think about our attempt to get more organized).
DISCLAIMER: I retired from 35 years of teaching in public schools in 2014. I am truly grateful for the TIME I now have for myself and for my growing love of writing. However, retirement has also given TIME to my “lesser angels” who have been working out 5 hours a day to gain strength and power to develop:

My Seven Deadly Sins of Retirement

by Ginger Keller Gannaway

1.SLOTH – Even though I arise at 6 a.m.,robe I stay in my robe until 2 p.m., watch Netflix until 4 p.m., decide to clean out my hall closet next week (or maybe next month), and leave a sink full of dirty dishes for my spouse to wash later because I need to find out how Stranger Things ends.

thin-mints2. GLUTTONY – I start with a single Thin Mint cookie to accompany my morning coffee, two more for a mid-morning snack, 4 cookies for dessert after my lunch, a few more to help me fix supper, and I help my hubby finish off the whole box later that evening.

3. ENVY – Since I have too much free time to skim Facebook, I start to believe every one of my friends’ kids are more independent, better-adjusted, more successful, better-looking, funnier, healthier, and happier than my own. Plus, those same wonderful children both respect and adore their parents!facebook

4. Avarice- With my new-found time, I decide it’s a good idea to go shopping everyday. I alternate a day with Amazon Prime bargains with a day full of the deals at Home Goods, Academy, or Ross-Dress-For-Less. Then at the end of each month, I get to better know all the thrift stores in town.

cabinets5. WRATH – Sharing my abundance of home time with my spouse makes me realize how sloppy, lazy, insensitive, and self-centered he has suddenly become. I never noticed how my loved-one did not know how to close a single drawer or cabinet in our kitchen, so around 10:47 p.m. one night I opened and loudly closed each and every drawer and cabinet and accidentally pulled the spice door back too far before I slammed it properly and broke its hinge.

6. LUST – While watching all six seasons of Justified, I become justifiedobsessed with the way Timothy Olyphant as Marshall Raylan Givens cocks his handsome head and wears that well-worn cowboy hat and struts so confidently into a bar or a backwoods danger zone, yet he still has a gentle look in his brown eyes when he holds his baby girl. So I ask my hubby to keep all the lights off the next time we make love and I have country music playing softly in the background. I also suggest total silence during sex so I can replay scenes of Raylan outsmarting Boyd Crowder in my head.

7. PRIDE – I now feel pity for my friends who still have to work, and from my lofty throne of Retired Greatness, I judge those who struggle to make it through a few more years of work. Poor, sad, tired Daily Grinders! I even forget that folks who do the 9 to 5 gig may not want to see a late night live music show on a Wednesday or to check out the midnight feature on a Sunday. Although I sorta strut through my days of freedom and semi-gloat about finishing Anna Karenina in 4 days, I really only want more of my favorite friends to be free from work so that they can “come out and play” with me.top-tentop-tenthrone-retired